What color is the music? Does the music play a specific color? How does color influence your perception? These questions have been surrounded by intense discussion and debate by musicians, philosophersartists and scientists for several centuries.
Surely the following has happened to you: you are listening to a certain type of music, at that moment, you find yourself choosing clothes of a certain color and feeling more or less happyrelaxed or sad. This happens because music transmits emotions and manages to connect with our feelings, awakening a specific mood, memory or emotion.
It’s really fascinating to see how our brain creates those abstract connections and associations between music and color. A group of researchers have devoted themselves to studying this association and what this phenomenon consists of. Here at Supercurious, we will find all the answers.
What is the relationship between music and color?
When it comes to the relationship between color and music, It is important to understand the basics. First, music is defined as “the art of combining sounds in both melodic and rhythmic ways”, while color refers to a form of visual perception, experienced by combining light and pigment.
Second, from an artistic point of view, color is a means to describe and convey emotions, while music has been considered as a way to share both conscious and unconscious feelings. A) Yes, It is possible that there is a deep connection between these two concepts.which can be explained from an interdisciplinary point of view.
Studies on color and music
In recent years, numerous studies have been conducted on the subject. These investigations have shown that there is a close relationship between music and colorsince the underlying principles and concepts are both based on the same basic principles.
For example, studies show that there is a connection between the musical scale and the rainbow, or that music is influenced by different chromatic situations. Research also shows that there is a strong influence between colors and music in the field of painting.
Does music have color?
To find the answer, it is important to know the different theories and perspectives that exist so far.
1. Chromatic theories
There are several chromatic theories that explain the use of color in music. One of them is the chromatic color theory of Pythagoras., which originated in ancient Greece. This perspective postulates that colors and sounds share a connection, since both are expressed through numbers.
The above theory is also known as “color harmony” because the two share the same hierarchy. Another example is Goethe’s heliocentric chromatic model, according to which color refers to the wavelength of light and music is the wavelength of sounds.
2. Experiences and perceptions
In addition to scientific theories, there is a wide variety of artists and musicians who have tried to explain the relationship between color and music through their experiences and perceptions.
For example, the composer Richard Wagner related color to the musical scale and the atmosphere of music to the color of the sky. There are also several artists who have tried to express this connection through his works as the Spanish painter Joan Miró, who said: «The world can be seen in an infinite range of colors».
Although some of those explanations are subtle, the pioneering work of many artists has contributed greatly to the understanding of the connection between color and music.
3. Interdisciplinary perspectives
From an interdisciplinary point of view, there are several disciplines that focus on explaining the connection between color and music. Neuroscience, psychology, and physiology have contributed significant ideas and researchwhere the role of concepts such as «resonance» and «low-precision wave activity» stands out.
These theories start from the premise that sound waves have an impact on color perception because sounds and colors have a physical influence on the human brain.
Find out what color music is!
In the United States, about 30 people were chosen to listen to four music clips and choose which colors fit best with the music.
With a palette of 37 colors and before pieces like the Allegro del Bach’s Brandenburg Concertopiece nº 4, most of the participants chose bright and lively colours, especially yellows.
A second clip of the same Bach piece, but with a calmer tempo, led them to choose shades of gray and blue, while piece C, a song by rockwas embodied in reds and blacks.
The last piece, one slow piece and pianoalso prompted participants to opt for muted colors, again from gray to blue.
But why do music and colors match in this particular way?
As the specialists concluded, music and color have common emotional qualities, with similar emotional associations. Although we may not know why each person rates music and each color according to five emotional dimensions ranging from joy to sadness, the relationship between the two is actually interesting.
The results of the first experiment carried out in the United States were practically identical in Mexico, something that suggests that this type of associations may be universal.
For these people, sounds have colors and shine like fireworks. A curious fact is that the composer Franz Listz had this ability to see the colors of the music he composed.
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